Marie Leech, AL, January 23, 2013
A Huffman High School English teacher is being questioned for instructing her ninth graders — as part of a Black History Month exercise — to see the R-rated Quentin Tarantino movie “Django Unchained.”
The assignment is part of a scavenger hunt, and one of the items requires students to see the violent slave pic “Django Unchained,” a “Roots”-goes-“Pulp Fiction” shoot-em-up about slavery and revenge.
As one parent — who asked that her name not be used for fear of retaliation against her child — put it, “I hardly see what my child can get from this movie other than how horrible white people were.”
Efforts to reach the teacher this morning were unsuccessful. Larry Contri, director of high school instruction, said Birmingham city schools “does not endorse students attending any R-rated movie as part of a class assignment.”
Contri said he is having the requirement to attend the movie as part of the scavenger hunt removed from the list. Parents will be notified of the change, he said.
In the assignment, the teacher says it is being given “in an effort to develop your understanding of the black history that surrounds you daily.”
The first item on the hunt? “Go see Django Unchained.” Students must bring proof that they saw the movie — a ticket stub and summary of the movie, including what “disturbing things” they learned about black history from the movie.
“This is an English teacher, not history,” the parent said. “If she feels it’s OK for children to see this movie as a historical basis on how slaves were treated, then I seriously question what else she is teaching my child.”
[Editor’s Note: According to this website, Huffman High School is 97 percent black and 2 percent Hispanic.]